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Cell Organelles Mix and Match Review Game

This review game can be used by all biology and life students in grades 5-12!

I am always REALLY skeptical when I read that a teaching tool can be used by students over a wide range of grade levels.  But, in this case, it is really true!

We all know that a biology or life science class can be soooooo packed with information that many students are simply overwhelmed with the volume of terms, definitions, and facts. As teachers, we are always looking for ways to help review and reinforce the material in order to help our students be successful.  Many, many teachers are faced with teaching classes on a daily basis with a wide range in grade and ability levels.  We may be teaching an AP class of 12th graders one period and a 9th grade standard class the next class period. It is often very hard to plan from one period to the next.

If "cell organelles" are the topic of the day, this review game is a teaching tool that can be used for both young and old and for both the advanced and the standard student.   How can this be?  It is because you can quickly and easily customize the game to meets the needs of the students using the game.

The game is a set of cards that consists of 24 "organelle cards" and 112 "answer cards".   An organelle card has just the name of the organelle printed on the card.  The answer cards consists of facts about a particular organelle.  The student must match the answer cards to the organelle cards.

It is a very quick and simple process to make the game as easy or as hard as you need it to be for your particular students.  Choose the organelles you want to use from the set of 24 possible organelles.  Choose the answer cards you want from the set of 112 answer cards.  Mix up the cards, place them in a Ziploc bag, and hand a bag to each group of students.

For example:  This picture shows the endoplasmic reticulum with only 4 answer cards.

But this picture shows the endoplasmic reticulum with 12 answer cards.

For younger or lower level students, you would choose fewer cards for the game.  For older and more advanced students, give them all of the cards to use.  The cards can easily be used by 5th graders or by 12th grades by including the cards that fit the particular class.

How can this cell organelle game be used?

1.     Competitive Game Format:  I organize and separate the class into teams.  I pick a cellular organelle and announce it to the class.  For example, you might say, “Find 6 answer cards for the mitochondria.”  Students must quickly go through all of the answer cards and find all cards that match the chosen organelle.  The first group to find all matching answer cards wins the round.  Choose a second organelle and repeat.  I often award a few extra credit points to the winning team members.

2.     First Day Instruction:  Without any prior instruction on cell organelles, have the students use their textbooks to look up information on each organelle.  This works best in a setting where the students can spread out a bit.  The students first lay out the organelle cards.  As they read their textbooks, they align the matching answer cards to the organelle card.  After all answer cards have been placed, students can take notes on the enclose answer sheet.

3.     Reinforcement:  The cards are perfect for individualized or small group review and reinforcement.  Students can grab a bag of cards during study hall, before school or after school to study and review at their own pace.

I have included a student answer sheet.  It is an optional component.  If you choose, you can use the answer sheet to have the student record the name of the organelle and all of the corresponding answer statements.  I have included the student answer sheet in Word document format so that you can edit the answer sheet to meet your needs.  You can edit the table to include only those organelles you are using for your class.

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  1. This looks like a great game and an excellent method of review. I'm not teaching cells next semester, but this game is on my wishlist for the next time I do!

  2. Hi! I just came across your blog browsing for science teachers on bloglovin'. I love your blog from just glancing at it. Organelles is definitely something that we introduce in the middle school level and am now following you for more resources. Please check my (new) blog out. Thanks!